The au fait up and coming producer from Dutch soil, Presk, also known as Pieter Willems, has releases coming up on Fourth Wave, the new Ramp sub label and Doc Daneeka’s label Ten Thousand Yen in the next few months. Presk’s music is striking; the keywords to his productions are full-toned, rhythmic, sub bass, soulful but above all of adept and good, dare we say wondrous. We are proud to introduce you to Presk on the basis of an interview about his musical background, his current and older projects, his dislike for rodents and the thoughts behind his Truancy Volume. Because yes, the interview is accompanied by the twenty-third installment of the Truancy Volumes by the hand of Presk himself! TRUANCY VOLUME 23: PRESK is a mix tape a little under an hour which showcases some of his forthcoming tracks on aforementioned labels, and a selection of new and old favourites. A bit of Chandler and M-Dubs, some Cassius and a whole lot of Presk: we could throw some praising adjectives at you but why not turn it up and decide for yourself?
Hello Presk! How are you doing, could you briefly introduce yourself to our readers? Presk: Hi, I’m doing well! I make music by the name of Presk, I have been doing that for about a year and a half now. Before I was always busy making other music, in all kinds of genres. I’m living in Amsterdam, got a little studio here, which is great. We’ve got two rather large and hairy guinea pigs but I don’t really feel emotionally attached to them. I do feed them when nobody else is around though.
How would you describe your sound in five words? Blending cut-up grooves and genres.
Can you tell us a little bit about the course of your musical background? I was recording the charts off the radio when I was a kid, and used the double cassette deck to make my own mixes.. Started taking classical guitar lessons when I was little, but my teacher wasn’t so great as he wouldn’t let me write my own songs before I got that tedious technique thing covered into extremes first. I quit when I found out how I could make drum ‘n bass and IDM music on my computer using something called ‘tracker’ software. It was my main focus during high school, and school wasn’t going well really, but I managed to finish it either way and afterwards I went to study Music Composition & Technology in Utrecht. I Did some weird experimental and ambient stuff, programmed a lot of buggy experimental music software, but after graduating I felt like going back to the dance floor again. After living in Utrecht for some time, I moved to Amsterdam in 2010. I got in touch with a lot of cool people doing cool stuff here, like the guys behind Colors, Lockdown, Audio Culture and Boston Strip. Amsterdam is definitely treating me well.
What’s are some artist that have influenced you, inside and outside of electronic music? What are some records you never get tired of? We never listened to music much at home. That’s probably the reason why I got so obsessed with it; I devoured every bit of music I could get my hands on. My roots lie in a very rural, farmer village, and there weren’t any record shops around, but sometimes I took a bus to buy music. I still love the records I bought back then, DJ Teebee – Black Science Labs, Ed Rush & Optical – Wormhole, Matrix – Sleepwalk, Autechre – LP5 and Confield, Squarepusher and everything by Aphex Twin are probably my biggest influences, although I haven’t made a drum ‘n bass or IDM tune for ages now. What I love about that music is the swing, the funk-aspect of it, without being blatantly “funky” for that matter.. most people would find those drum ‘n bass albums monotone because it heavily relies on repetition. But it has this certain underlying brooding vibe, something that doesn’t quite reach the surface, but you feel it nonetheless. As I got a bit older, I discovered that same vibe in some mutant strains of techno music, in speed garage and UK garage, in Detroit techno, house and early dubstep.
You perform live as opposed to DJing. What makes a good live show to you? Could you name some examples of performers do it well? Live sets are a love/hate relationship to me. I really love a good DJ who knows to play a crowd, how to raise tension and release that tension at the right times. As a producer doing a live set, you’re kind of stuck with your own material; you have to work within those limits. And if that’s not difficult enough to keep a crowd going, you also have to focus on your laptop screen most of the time, while playing out music that hasn’t been mastered properly for the biggest part of it. But if it works out, and I like to think my live set does, it can give your own music a whole new edge, by recreating those tracks on the fly, cutting up and mixing different tunes and letting them evolve into something that’s very much Presk, but at the same time, isn’t a copy of my finished tracks. The best livesets I’ve seen recently seem to use this approach, each in a different way of course, for example Monolake together with Tarik Barri (he does the amazing visuals), Shackleton and Mount Kimbie.
When you are making music, are you generally aiming for the dance floor, or home listening? When I work on a piece of music I always imagine how it would work on a dance floor, or I would have a certain dancefloor vibe in my head, and try to shape the music accordingly. But I can’t really make a groove and put it on repeat. I’m always putting a lot of attention to tiny details, and I love to experiment with how grooves can evolve over time, how to keep that interesting. Also the sub bass frequency range is a key point in my productions, so you kind of need to hear it on a big system to get the full effect. In the end, I guess I do aim for the dance floor, but I would never make a track that’s not interesting enough to listen to at home on your headphones.
This year looks bright for you! Releases on Ramp Recordings and Ten Thousand Yen, a Jacques Greene remix. What else do you have in store for you? Is there something in specific you’d like to achieve in the next 12 months? I think I’m off to a good start in 2011; having my first 12” put out on Fourth Wave (new sub label from Ramp Recordings) and shortly after that, an EP on Doc Daneeka’s and Ian Yeti’s Ten Thousand Yen label, and I’m really proud of both releases. I don’t know for sure where the Jacques Greene remix is going, but I’m quite satisfied with it, going to discuss its future soon. Together with DJ+ and the guys from Lockdown. I organize a clubnight called Nachtwerk, which is gaining a lot of attention and has been selling out every edition. Also, I’m really looking forward to play the amazing 5 Days Off festival here in Amsterdam (Colors night, red.), where I’m on the bill together with people like Joy Orbison, Pearson Sound, MJ Cole, Ikonika & Optimum and top Dutch players such as Cinnaman, the guys from Audio Culture and Awanto 3. Got some nice summer festival bookings as well, so 2011 is shaping up nicely. Hopefully I’ll put out some more records on vinyl and of course I would love to take my live set abroad.
If you could collaborate with anyone, who would it be and why? Hard question, since I really like to work on my own.. but I’ve recently done a live set together with AstroPoser (as AstroPresk), who released his debut on the (in)famous Clone/DUB label last year, which was a really fun and spontaneous way of collaborating. If I can pick anyone I want, I’d choose to sit with J Dilla in his studio for a few days in a row. The way he gets his beats to shuffle, creating these organic, warm sounds, it’s simply amazing. Or maybe do some disco-edits together with Larry Levan for a Paradise Garage night. They’re both not around anymore, so it doesn’t really matter anyway, I’ll pick both.
What has been the inspiration behind the tracklisting for your Truancy mixtape? What’s the perfect setting to listen to the mixtape? I wanted this mixtape to be personal, a ‘get to know me’ kind of thing, since I there isn’t a lot of information you can find about me online. I’m not the one for tracklists consisting out of the newest and hottest tunes around either, I’m always looking for the odd match, combining different genres, tempo’s, genres and era’s. As long as it’s got that certain feeling I’m looking for, I’ll use it. I guess the perfect setting for this mixtape would be a sweaty club with a great crowd and a decent soundsystem, it’s 4am in the morning, you’re drunk (or whatever floats your boat), getting hypnotized and letting everything else go.
What’s the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you? I thought about this but I guess I’m pretty stubborn when it comes to taking advice from others, so I asked some friends and they told me to ‘start taking advice from others’, so that’s probably it!
TRUANCY VOLUME 23: PRESK
01 PRESK – AND CUT (FORTHCOMING FOURTH WAVE / RAMP RECORDINGS)
02 CASSIUS – FEELING FOR YOU (VIRGIN RECORDS)
03 BAD AUTOPSY – CALL BACK (RAMP RECORDINGS)
04 A MADE UP SOUND – REAR WINDOW (DELSIN)
05 PRESK – SLICK RICK (FORTHCOMING TEN THOUSAND YEN)
06 M DUBBS – BODY KILLIN (BABYSHACK)
07 WALT J – REBORN 1 (DJ QUS JOURNEY TOWARDS BIRTH MIX) (CURLE RECORDINGS)
08 KERRI CHANDLER – GLORY TO GOD (HARMLESS)
09 SUTEKH – THE GLORIOUS DAY HAS DAWNED (CREAKED RECORDS)
10 GERRY READ – THINK YOU KNOW (DUB)
11 DJ DOM – UNTITLED (PTN)
12 PRESK – HEADWAY (FORTHCOMING TEN THOUSAND YEN)
13 GOLDTRIX – IT’S LOVE (TRIPPIN’) (YRIS)
14 XXXY – ORDINARY THINGS (TEN THOUSAND YEN)
15 PEOPLE’S CHOICE – HERE WE GO AGAIN NOW (TSOP)
16 JACQUES GREENE – WHAT ARE YOU FEELING (PRESK REMIX) (DUB)
17 BICEP – DARWIN (THRONE OF BLOOD)